If someone were to have asked me at the beginning of the semester what is spirituality, I would not have answered correctly. Without a doubt, I am sure I would have answered the question as a synonym to religion, or part of a religion at least. In any case, that is not the right answer, and I now know that. After looking farther into the topic and reading works written by well-known spiritual leaders and authors, I am now confident I know what spirituality is as well as how to execute or practice it.
Peace is Every Step, a book written by a Vietnamese man named Thich Nhat Hanh was just one of the readings that helped me to better understand what spirituality is. Hanh calls himself a Zen master, as well as being known world wide for poetry and advocating for peace. Additionally, an article titled “What is Spirituality?” that comes from the book The Holy Longing, written by Ronald Rolheiser, was another piece I gained spiritual knowledge through. Lastly, an excerpt from the book Awakening the Buddha Within, titled “We Are All Buddhas” was also a key part of my knowledge on spirituality. “We Are All Buddhas,” written by Lama Surya Das, a Lama who practices in Kathmandu, gave me a great deal of understanding about why one should practice spirituality. Unquestionably, my understanding about spirituality as a whole has improved from these men.
Based on a mixture of ideas coming from the stated authors, I comprehend spirituality as believing in something and living for a purpose in life. Regardless of a religion, people can still be spiritual. Spirituality is the influence behind a person’s actions; whatever a person desires to do, will lead to actions and in turn, spirituality (Rolheiser 7). According to Rolheiser, “Spirituality is more about whether or not we can sleep at night than about whether or not we go to church” (7). Obviously, it can be easy to incorporate spirituality into church. For example, believing in a God or gods would be considered a desire; going to church would be an action which overall is spirituality. However, there is more to spirituality than just actions. In accordance with our actions, we must first develop thoughts that provoke those actions. Das explains spirituality as being the search for meaning and answers to life (10). Although the questions one may be looking for could be extremely open ended, such as ‘Why am I here?’ this is a big part of spirituality. Generally, part of spirituality is the search for inner peace, happiness, and our genuine selves. Moreover, it is not unusual for a person not to begin his or her spiritual journey until an emotionally difficult part of life because this is when people tend to ask those life questions more frequently (Das 10). Even for author Lama Surya Das, this was a difficult process.
Das grew up in America, and truly did not know what he wanted to do, or what his spirituality was for quite some time. It was not until, … “death, the great teacher, presented opportunity for a...